|Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw, left, accepts an apology from|
Pete Davidson, who made an inappropriate joke about Crenshaw's
war injury. The apology on SNL last Saturday is one road map
to counter President Trump's negativity and divisiveness.
It was just before the midterm elections, and Davidson was riffing out jokes about several Republican political candidates when he got to Dan Crenshaw, who was running for Congress from a Texas district.
SNL showed a photo of Crenshaw, a former military guy who wears an eye patch because of a war injury and said. "You may be surprised to hear he's a congressional candidate for Texas and not a hit man in a porno movie."
I, along with many, many other people thought that went too far. Joking about Crenshaw's political positions is totally fair game. This was just cruel and unnecessary.
The bad joke caused a bit of a firestorm. On November 6, just three days after the SNL "joke" Crenshaw won the election and is now a Congressman-elect.
This whole incident could have been another salvo in the political hate wars that seem to be gripping all of us in the USA.
But then, as you might have seen or read on the news, SNL invited Crenshaw onto the show the following week - last Saturday. Yes, this was PR, to atone for such a bad, unfunny joke. But it was the best way possible to fix this mess. The video is at the bottom of this post.
Davidson, in his pink hoodie and bleached white hair, apologized in the "Weekend Update" segment.
He said: "In what must be a huge shock for people who know me, I made a poor choice last week. "I made a joke about Lt. Com. Dan Crenshaw on behalf of myself and the show. I apologize... I mean this from the bottom of my heart, it was a poor choice of words. The man is a war hero and he deserves all the respect in the world.
"If any good came of this, maybe it was for one day, the left and the right finally came to agree on something: That I'm a dick."
With that, Crenshaw appeared on the set and said, "Ya think?" and then sat down next to Davidson.
Then there were some more jokes, including Crenshaw having his cell phone go off, with the ring tone being an Ariana Grande song. Grande and Davidson had been engaged, but the whole thing was called off. "Do you know her?" Crenshaw asked "innocently."
The nice thing about this is it turned into a good moment of unity in a time when we're tearing each other apart.
Crenshaw said: "I want us to get away from this culture where we demand an apology every time someone misspeaks."
Crenshaw went on: "There's a lot of lessons to learn here. Not just that the left and right can still are on some things. But also, this: Americans can forgive one another."
The congressman-elect then went on - this was Veteran's Day weekend - to remind people of the sacrifices of our veterans. He also went out of his way to honor the people "we lost on 9/11, heroes like Pete's father.
Davidson's dad was a firefighter who lost his life in the 9/11 terrorist attack.
This whole thing was great because, as an opinion piece on CNN noted, "rather than trying to one up each other or score political points with their respective audiences, they made a sincere attempt to connect in a respectful and playful manner."
I have to say, our divisiveness is to a great extent Donald Trump's fault. Whenever things go badly for him - and he's such a fuck up that that happens frequently - he starts blaming groups and people, designating enemies and making up conspiracy theories out of nothing, just to cause hate.
Who knows which side will win? Will it be the hate and blame and lies from Trump and his minions and his ardent supporters? Or will we once again learn to deal with our differences.
There are other glimmers of hope. There was an extremely close race for U.S. Senate in Arizona. Republican Martha McSally seemed to be ahead at first, but as ballots continued to be counted, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema got ahead as more votes were counted.
Trump and his GOP minions started claiming fraud and crime in the vote counting, just to undermine faith in the electoral process and try to advance the Republican, no matter what.
But when it became clear that Sinema squeaked out a victor, McSally gave an incredibly gracious concession message, with the help of her goofy dog.
Sure, McSally didn't want to look like a jerk, so that if she runs for office again, people won't bring that up. But the concession was sincere, and far different from Trump's continued attempts to yell about voter fraud against Republicans with absolutely no evidence to back him up.
Trump continues as of today to spout off about fictional voter fraud. Yes, all election officials need to be monitored so that there's no funny business. Yes, voter fraud, though very rare, needs to be squelched.
But more important is our faith in elections, our faith in each other. We're going to have to deal with Donald Trump for the forseeable future. But Davidson, Crenshaw and McSally do give us a model on how to deal with Trump's dark, anti-democratic, ignorant mentality.
Here's the Davidson/Crenshaw video. Between the jokes, it's actually a little inspiring: